May 14, 2011

Fun at the FTM

Justin Katz

I really hope Tiverton's financial town meeting (FTM) practice disappears with a proposed all-day referendum that townspeople will have the opportunity to approve in the fall. But in the meantime, we have to come out and fight the good fight.

The only striking aspect so far has been the mocking grumbles and sneering looks that I get every time I mention that folks like me have been financially struggling for months and years. So, for example, when the point was made that using a portion of last year's budget surplus (in the midst of the Great Recession) to offset tax increases this year could affect the town's credit rating, I noted the importance of remembering folks, like me, who've been getting daily calls from debt collectors. The question: What about our credit rating?

I really don't care what they think of me, but the reaction of those sitting generally in "school supporter" areas was disconcerting. Even the high school principal appeared to join in. Why is it so sneer-worthy that people who are not doing as well as others in the town have concerns about losing hundreds of more dollars of their resources every year.

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"has been the mocking grumbles and sneering looks that I get every time I mention that folks like me have been financially struggling for months and years"

Did someone get a picture of that? It would make a very enlightening billboard.

Well-paid public employees sneer at your money problems. Now, what was that about an unfunded pension liability ...?
Posted by: Monique at May 14, 2011 7:37 PM

I mean no disrespect to Justin here, and I will not appreciate any suggestion that I do.

The "sneering" that he is noticing is a commonplace of human nature. It is the reaction that people offer to having "real people" impede their desires, with plausible suggestions that they are overstepping the bounds. There are many examples of this, both large and small. In the "small" I think of a woman I once knew from a divorced family. They retained a home in a "ritzy" neighborhood, but were in reduced circumstances. Neighbors would knock on their door to tell them to buy a newer car, because they were an embarrassment to the neighborhood. In the large, there are the examples of Southerners blaming the blacks for all their troubles after our Civil War; or, while seldom spoken of, the Germans blaming the Jews for the unsettling experience of the Second World War.

People do not like it when facts impede their desires. They find comfort by reacting with disdain for the "facts".

Posted by: Warrington Faust at May 14, 2011 10:33 PM

Justin, same excuse every time from the same people every year.


Posted by: dave at May 16, 2011 7:40 AM

Justin perhaps the people sneering because they know how long winded you tend to be or it could have been that they support that PAYT program that you were attempting to dismantle.

Posted by: Triplerichard at May 16, 2011 5:28 PM
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